by Wendy Irvine
Located in the Southwest region of Louisiana — just eight minutes off I-210, a two-hour drive from Houston and a three-hour drive from New Orleans — is Lake Charles, a town that welcomed the Golden Nugget Lake Charles.
Your kids will go wild for the resort’s lavish H20-system with its zero-entry pool, two waterslides, and a lazy river with its own dramatic waterfall. The property’s beach has a Mexican cantina, large fire pits (S’mores on summer weekends), lots of sand for castle building — all fronting the Calcasieu River. Your picky-eaters, your foodies and your dessert connoisseurs will want for nothing given the more than eleven dining spots on property.
And as good as the kids have it at the Nugget, it’s the adults who really clean up. Hankering to try your luck at gambling? The Nugget’s 30,000-square-feet of Las Vegas-style casino boasts 1,600 slots and 77 gaming tables.
If taking in a concert is the rarest of parental treats, you’ll be excited to find a 2,000-seat performance venue at the Nugget that headlines top-acts like Wynonna Judd, Hank Williams Jr., and Loretta Lynn. These live shows are for ages 21 and up, but kids’ concerts are sprinkled into the concert landscape, especially in December.
Golfers will be stoked to spot the gorgeous 18-hole course (complete with a jewel of a Country Club restaurant), while spa lovers will be drawn to the opulent spa and salon. The Nugget also has fantastic shopping, upscale dining, both chic and raucous bars, and an adults-only pool section that boasts — and boasts is the word — a swim-up bar, swim-up daybeds, cabanas, five whirlpools, and beautiful fire pits.
The 738 guestrooms and suites in the Golden Nugget Lake Charles are nestled in two towers: the Gold Tower with 22 floors and the Spa Tower with 10 floors. In 2017, the new Rush Tower will join her sisters with 14 floors and 300 guestrooms and suites.
And not to be overlooked, if your yacht has had a rough year and could use a vacay, the Nugget’s Marina offers luxury boat slips to rent.
Our Editor Loves
- Sprawling resort-casino fronting lake
- Pools, slides, lazy river, beach and more
- Over eleven dining spots on property
- Water Parks
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Nugget offers an array of guestrooms and luxurious suites in both the Spa and Gold Towers -- with a third, the Rush Tower, opening in 2017. Tip: For the best view (and the least amount of noise), request the highest room or suite available. Neither guestrooms or suites come with a mini-fridge or microwave -- although mini-fridges can be requested for a $20 per-night fee. Guests can request a Pack 'n Play or an air mattress, but there is not enough space in the rooms or suites for both. The air mattress is a twin-size mattress that sleeps one adult or child. The resort allows you to request one air mattress per room or suite at $30 per night (one exception: an air mattress is not allowed in the queen rooms due to a fire hazard). Pack 'n Plays also come with a $20 per night fee. Need a connecting room? Just ask; connecting rooms are sprinkled throughout the towers. Deluxe Guest Room (No View) The deluxe guestroom offers 500 square feet of space with either a king or two queen beds, a beautiful soaking tub, a separate shower, a private bathroom, dual sinks, a 48-inch flat-screen, a small dining nook, a coffeemaker, and an iHome docking station. The Deluxe Guest Room with a king bed allows one air mattress and sleeps a total of three people. The Deluxe Guest Room with two queen beds does not allow air mattresses and sleeps a total of four guests. Deluxe Guest Room With Lake View This has everything you'd find in the standard deluxe guestrooms, plus a breathtaking view of the beach, marina and lake. Deluxe Guest Room With Pool View The Deluxe Guest Room has a beautiful view of the H20 pool + bar, lazy river and golf course -- along with everything you'd find in the standard Deluxe Guest Room. Corner Suite The 1,000-square-foot Corner Suite is positioned on each corner of the gold tower and is decked in a stunning view of the property. This suite has a king bed, a living area (with a pullout sofa - the only guestroom or suite that has a pullout), a wine cooler stocked with wines, a wet bar, a Keurig coffeemaker, a large soaker tub, a stand-up shower, a vanity with dual sinks, a 55-inch flat-screen, 28-inch bathroom TV, an iHome docking station, and robes and slippers. The king bed plus pullout sofa sleeps four people total. Parlor Suite The parlor suite located in the Gold Tower has the amenities you'll find in the Corner Suite minus the sofa, and also has an extended balcony with stunning views of the property. This suite sleeps two guests in the king bed, and allows one air mattress for a maximum of three people. Presidential Suite Sprawling over 1,500 square feet, the Presidential Suite is located on the 22nd floor of the Gold Tower and has an extended balcony. This suite comes with an opulence-squared master bedroom, an en-suite with dual vanities, a large soaker tub; and a living area with a half-bath in the foyer. The suite also has every amenity you'll find in the Corner Suite (again, minus a sofa). The suite sleeps two persons in the king bed and allows one air mattresses sleeping a total of three guests per suite. A butler also services the Presidential Suite (your go-to person: offering curbside greeting, reservations, in-room dining, maintenance coordination, evening turndown, luggage handling, and so much more.) Loft Suite This 2,000-square-foot suite spans two stories and includes every amenity you'll find in the Presidential Suite plus a Jacuzzi on the patio. The Loft Suite sits on the first floor of the Spa Tower so the kids can run from the suite straight to the pool or beach (be sure to specify pool or beach access when you reserve). The suite sleeps two people in the king bed and allows one air mattress for a maximum of three guests. The Loft Suite also has full use of the butler service.
Sonjia is an excellent teacher. me and my girlfriend have never played 3 card poker. She was very patient and always gave us great advice. Gooden nugget is the only place to play. We never stay anywhere else
by Russell M
When you drive up valet parking is exceptional and quick.
The facility is beautiful.
Everything is EXTREMELY PRICEY & to get your room cleaned you have to call and ask and that is no garuntee that it will happen. I had to call for service to clean my room after they skipped me the first day.second day I called of the morning and later that day after all cleaning was complete i had to call back as my room still didn’t get cleaned. They sent a person in and she asked what I wanted cleaned. Wasn’t hard to see what needed to be cleaned. Got her to update towels and she left.
Beautiful facility - over priced but beautiful and then the cleaning service was basicllay non existence unless you called.
Arcade Kids will find both new and traditional games, claw-machines with prizes, and more in the arcade. Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by a person 16 or older. Open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday until midnight. Beach The resort sits on a wide swath of sandy beach dotted with over forty luxury chaise lounges at-the-ready throughout the year. Your cute-year-olds can spend hours building in the sand and older kids will likely be drawn to the well-kept beach volleyball net. Sitting beside the beach is the Cadillac Beach Bar & Grille that will keep the kids in tasty plates and the parents in something stronger. When the sun sets, plan to gather around the fire pit and let the kids chillax under the stars. The resort serves up S'mores fireside on Friday and Saturdays in the summer from 6 to 8 p.m. Tip: the resort doesn't provide pool towels, sand buckets or shovels so remember to pack your own. A Target sits just a mile from the resort so if you don't feel like packing towels, sunblock and so forth, just head there. Golf Kids (defined here as ages 16 and under) will find two ways to have fun on the Nugget's 18-hole course. Kids can book a lesson with a pro (for a fee), who will play with them on the course for an hour (to an hour and a half) and give prime pointers. Or, kids can book a tee time at half the rate of the adult golfers. Clubs can be rented, but kid-sized clubs aren't available. Reserve lessons or a tee time by calling 337-508-4653. Pool Ask a kid and they'll say that the best of the Nugget is its lavish pool system. Do the math -- a zero-entry pool, plus a lazy river and a dramatic waterfall and two waterslides equals ecstatic -- and eventually sleepy -- kids. Reservations for cabanas and daybeds can be made by calling 337-508-4005.(Premium cabanas face the H20 Pool while regular cabanas face the lazy river). Pool towels are provided by the resort. Open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. (weather permitting). The lazy river closes at dusk. Salon The beautiful Nugget salon rolls out the red carpet for kids with a mani/pedi service. An adult must be present during the services for kids ages 16 and under. Only those 18 and older are allowed to use the spa and fitness center. To reserve a mani/pedi at the salon, call 337-508-4005. Tennis The Golden Nugget has two beautifully maintained tennis courts. While the resort doesn't have a tennis pro on the property, you will find complimentary rackets and tennis balls at the spa. Entertainment The resort welcomes many headliners for live concerts to its 2,000-seat venue including Wynonna Judd, Tanya Tucker, Rick Springfield, ZZ Top, Willie Nelson, and Bret Michaels to name a few. The shows are for the over-21 crowd, but kid-friendly shows are highlighted through the year including an elaborate Christmas show in December designed for ages eight and up. The box office is open from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily with extended hours on performance days. Tickets are also available at ticketmaster.com.
Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar Love great Mexican? Located on the beach, the Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar menu brims with fajitas, ensaladas, enchiladas, burritos, tapas and four different salsas. A children's menu isn't available, but highchairs and boosters are just a request away. Call 337-508-4103 for reservations. Open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Tuesday. Open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Happy Hour begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m. Chocolate Box While not technically a sit-down dining spot, the Chocolate Box is a popular must-stop for kids (okay, us too) wanting something sweet. The boutique features an array of chocolate including gourmet chocolate, handmade confections, novelty candy, gelato, and a lot more. Open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday until 1 a.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Claim Jumper Welcome to Claim Jumper: home of the all day, every day $6 Margarita and Bloody Mary. The menu features burgers, sandwiches, pot pie, salads, pasta, baby back ribs, seafood, and Certified Angus Beef steaks. The desserts include a Six-Layer Chocolate Motherlode cake showcased as one of America's "Top 5 Most Decadent Desserts" on the Food Network. The Claim Jumper breakfasts boast eggs Benedict, build-your-own-omelet, breakfast tacos, pancakes, waffles and French toast. To-go orders are more than welcome, or have your meal delivered by room service directly to your guestroom. Children's menus, highchairs and boosters are available. Open 24/7 all week, except closed on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. For take-out, call 337-508-4104. Claim Jumper Grille Same hours, menu, and $6 drinks as Claim Jumper -- just a speedier experience. For phone orders, call 337-508-4104. Grotto The Grotto is a lovely spot to bring the entire family for pasta, pizza and awesome desserts. No children's menus, but highchairs and boosters available. A reservation wouldn't hurt; call 337- 508-4103. Open for lunch on the weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.; on Friday until 11 p.m.; and on Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m. Light Night Happy Hour (pizza and bar) is open on Monday through Sunday from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. Landry's Seafood House Landry's has been serving Louisiana seafood plates for going on six decades. Back in '47, the doors opened in Lafayette, Louisiana and the tradition continues to this day. The menu brims with gumbos, bisques, appetizers like a seafood fondue and entrees including oysters on the half shell, jumbo sea scallops and Bourbon street pasta. Children's menus, highchairs and boosters are all available. The wine list is extensive and the cocktails sparkle. Reservations encouraged; call 337-508-4103. Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays until 11 p.m. Lillie's Asian Cuisine Lillie's Asian Cuisine menu offers traditional and trendy Chinese and Japanese plates including an extensive sushi and sashimi menu, traditional noodle dishes, wok entrees and a variety of cut rolls. Those with a smaller appetite will love the small plate section. A wine, beer, saki, and "exotic sips" menu is impressive. No children's menus, but highchairs and boosters are available. Make your reservation by calling 337-508-4103. Open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday to 4 a.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Happy Hour opens Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saltgrass Steak House The Saltgrass Steak House serves Certified Angus Beef steaks (cooked with Saltgrass-7 Steak Spice and garlic butter), seafood, chicken, baby back ribs, burgers and salads. Breads, dressings, soups and desserts are made from scratch daily. A kids' menu includes baby back ribs, mini corn dogs, mac and cheese, pizza -- and a cowboy sundae for dessert. Children's menus, highchairs and boosters are at the ready. To make a reservation, call 337-508-4103. Open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday to 11 p.m. Open Happy Hour Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Starbucks Featuring the expected assortment of specialty coffees including pastries, chocolate-covered coffee beans and mugs. Open Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday to 12 a.m. The Buffet Arrive famished. This buffet sports seven "action stations" including a carving station with smoked brisket, and Asian, American, Mexican and Italian stations, plus a salad bar. Each evening features a different buffet entrÃ©e: Tuesday might be BBQ Madness, and Friday and Saturday is likely Crab and Steak night. Dessert station treats -- made by the in-house pastry chef -- include cupcakes, donuts, hand-dipped ice cream and more. No children's menus, but highchairs and boosters are available. The breakfast menu is served all day and the full buffet menu begins at 11 a.m. Open for breakfast Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and weekends to 11:30 a.m. Lunch hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner happens Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Friday until 11 p.m.; Saturday noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. The Country Club Restaurant Inside and out, the Country Club Restaurant -- located next to the gold course -- is a sparkling jewel of a dining spot. The interior's centerpiece is the floor-to-ceiling windows that dramatically frame the scenic 18-holes and the Israel LaFleur Bridge beyond. An elongated fire pit, trendy lighting, and a cafÃ© latte color scheme is a lovely setting for the Cajun plates, gumbo, burgers, and steaks. Open Wednesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Closed Monday and Tuesday. Hours vary for Happy Hour and the Quick Service Golf CafÃ©: consult the resort's site for specifics. Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse Vic & Anthony's is an elegant date-night spot. The menu is stocked with USDA prime Midwest grain-fed steaks, along with seafood and salad selections. The wine list is extensive and the cocktail menu isn't bad either. Reservations are a smart idea; call 337-508-4103. No children's menus, but highchairs and boosters are on-hand. Open Sunday to Friday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. Room Service Room service is available 24/7 and catered by Claim Jumpers.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras Resort Fee The resort fee of $5.99 per day assures all rooms and suites receive full pool access, pool towels, free Wi-Fi, fitness center access, free parking and bottled water in the rooms or suites. Barber Shop A full-service barbershop offers boy's and men's haircuts and shaves. Open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check-In/Check-Out Check into the resort at 4 p.m. and check out at 11 a.m. Fitness Center The property's fitness center is moderately-sized with large windows and mirrors galore. Equipment includes free weights, treadmills, and cardio machines. Complimentary bottled water, hand towels and sanitation wipes are available. Open Sunday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays until 10 p.m. Marina The Nugget's Marina offers yacht owners deep-water yacht slips with dockage up to 206 feet. Your $2 per-foot rental slip fee assures you high speed internet access and access to the H2O pool + bar. Water and electrical hook-up up to 100amps/480 volts is also available for an additional fee. Want access to the year-round pool system and fire pit lounge? Ask about the extra fee that will give you full privileges to the pool. Slip rentals are available by reservation only by calling 337-508-4000. Pet Policy Only service animals are allowed at the Nugget. Shopping An array of boutiques deliver great browsing moments: the Chocolate Box (fancy treats), Essentials (upscale souvenirs, snacks, newspapers; open 24/7), Style Trend (Tommy Bahama, Michael Kors and more), Nineteen 46 (trendy clothes), Aqua (upscale swim wear and shades), Luxe (fine jewelry), Riveted (vintage clothes and denim), Memento (cool athletic wear, home goods), and the Pro Shop at the Country Club (sportswear, shades, and equipment). The Spa & Salon also sells a variety of items including workout clothes and skin care and aromatherapy products. The Art of Smart Timing Summer is the happening season at the Nugget. Winters are quiet and shoulder seasons -- fall and spring -- also see fewer crowds. You'll find the resort is mellow during the Easter holiday, too. When planning your visit, keep in mind that Lake Charles boasts about 75 festivals and special events throughout the year including Mardi Gras, the Contraband Days Pirate Festival and more -- researching dates before your visit might save you from a wall of people if a quiet trip is your goal. Every region has its issues with weather and wildlife, before you visit Lake Charles consult the weather channels and sites before, and during, your visit. Louisiana knows something about floods, heavy rains, hurricanes, and tornadoes, so stay informed. Wildlife-wise, Lake Charles traffic has been known to come to a halt for a passing alligator. Locals and visitors are continuously reminded not to feed the gators, and with little human contact, the shy guys tend to avoid marina noise and activity. Getting There Fly into the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston and drive just two hours to the Golden Nugget. Or land in the smaller Houston airport -- William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) -- and also expect a two-hour drive to the resort. Visiting Lake Charles from New Orleans? If you fly into the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, you'll drive about three hours to the property. And good to know: the town of Lake Charles is served by the Lake Charles Regional Airport that offers small jet service to Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston and is just minutes from the Golden Nugget. Getting Around A family-friendly trolley travels between the two large gaming resorts in Lake Charles and is a blast for the kids to ride. The 5- to 10-minute (depending on traffic) trolley ride is complimentary and kids must be accompanied by an adult. The trolley runs Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday until 3 a.m., and on Sunday until 1 a.m. For Mom and Dad As you may have deduced, the Nugget is a parent-playground on a double espresso, "hold the water." Along with stunning bars nestled within each dining spot, the resort has four stand-alone bars: the Blue Martini; the Rush Lounge with live bands playing late into the night; the chic Ice Bar; the Bar 46 with table gambling; and the H20 Pool + (swim-up) Bar with upscale day beds, hot tubs, gorgeous fire pits, and private cabanas. (Under 21-year-olds need to stay lazy-river-side.) Or let the good times roll in the resort's spa where you can sink into a couple's bath and massage a deux. The couple's suite is decked in vanilla accents, candles, two massage beds and a luxurious soaking tub with its own ambient lighting, small waterfall and specialty controls to create an individual bubbling experience. To reserve a spa service, call 337-508-4005.